Hellmann's heavenly opportunity: How the mayo brand is capitalizing on an Oscars shout-out

Let's hope Amy Poehler really, really likes mayonnaise.

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ: Hellmann’s has offered comedian Amy Poehler a lifetime supply of mayonnaise after she gave the brand an unexpected shoutout during Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Poehler was joined on stage by fellow Saturday Night Live alums Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph to present the award for Best Supporting Actress to Regina King for her role in "If Beale Street Could Talk."

"We won’t be doing awards during the commercials, but we will be presenting commercials during the awards," Poehler joked during the Oscars 2019 host-less open. "So if all the winners could please say, ‘Hellman’s Mayonnaise: We’re on the side of food,’ instead of speeches, that would be great."

Ben Crook, Unilever’s North America senior director of marketing for condiments, called the shout-out a "brilliant surprise."

"I fell off my seat a little bit," he recalled. "We were super-thrilled to see Hellmann’s mentioned among Hollywood greats on such a big stage and on such a big night."

Crook said his internal team and agency partner Weber Shandwick huddled to figure out how they could immediately respond. Hellmann’s joined the conversation on Twitter and thanked Poehler.

"We really did offer her Hellmann’s for life as a gesture of gratitude and thanks for such a big shoutout," said Crook. "She can accept the offer or donate the supplies to a charity or to a local food bank. We feel strongly about food waste, so we would like to help out where we can on behalf of [Poehler]."

Even though none mentioned Hellmann’s in their acceptance speeches, the brand is also gifting all the Oscar winners mayonnaise.

"Today on Twitter, we are giving fans who keep the conversation going an opportunity to get free mayonnaise with some giveaways we are running," said Crook.

Poehler’s Hellmann’s mention has helped to jumpstart a bigger campaign that is "well-planned and in-the works" for the brand about its global positioning: "We’re on the side of food."

"This is such a nice sprinkle of anticipation of a campaign that will be coming from the brand in 2019," said Crook. "It is anchored around four key areas of strategy for us around food waste, regenerative farming, nutrition, and packaging."

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